An Introduction To Feedback

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1960

Charles and Ray viewed An Introduction to Feedback as one of a series of films about computers and the principles underlying their operation. Created as a sequel to A Communications Primer, Introduction to Feedback would have been the first Eames project completed for IBM, but they postponed production in order to make the film The Information Machine, shown by IBM at the Brussels World’s Fair in 1958.

Introduction to Feedback was intended for an educational setting. The film focuses on the cycle by which performance is measured, evaluated against desired results, and corrected for future performance. The film draws analogies between the function of the feedback principle in everyday situations and the way it works in the modern electronic computer.

To demonstrate this process, the Eames Office filmed situations as simple as a girl adapting her moves in a game of jacks and as complex as the mechanical operation of a ball governor regulating a steam engine.

The film won awards at the Festival International du Film du Montréal and the International Filmwoche in Mannheim, Germany in 1961. It was also selected for participation in the Melbourne Film Festival in 1963.

Narrated by actor Vic Perrin.

10 minutes, 40 seconds.  Color.